Viomak’s latest album Happy 83rd Birthday President Mugabe(23-11-06)

Protest music, drama goes underground
HARARE - Canadian-based protest musician Viomak, who is currently in Harare, drags listeners back to reality when her lyrics turn from the tribulations of love to those of a country speeding even further

along the road to repression.

Viomak sings protest songs
Viomak’s latest album, Happy 83rd Birthday President Mugabe (Bones of A 30-Year-Old), released here last week, is a compilation of soulful and hard-hitting ballads that tell of a country in crisis and of leaders impervious to the idea of relinquishing power. This protest music is banned from the airwaves of state-owned media.
Viomak is as skittish as opposition activists and journalists, who are being harassed and arrested under laws designed to quell discontent. The eight-track album features songs such as Inzwa Mugabe (Listen Mugabe), Mugabe Usambozvinyengedza (Mugabe don’t fool yourself), and Mangwanani Baba (Good morning daddy).
The album delivers one straight message: Mugabe must go if the country is to be saved from further collapse. The album is a sequel to her first album Happy 82nd Birthday President Mugabe, Diapora Classics, which was relatively popular.
Though Viomak is one of the country’s popular protest musicians, she now lives in Canada, but is in Harare to launch her album despite all the attendant risks.
Viomak said: “Zimbabwe is my home and Mugabe should know that Zimbabwe was not created for him.”
Viomak’s music can be obtained from the MDC Headquarters in central Harare. Record sales companies have refused to accept her music.
John Mokwetsi entertainment editor of the independent Standard weekly, says local braodcasters seem to have “shut out protest music and drama altogether.”
Despite the lack of media exposure, protest plays are still being staged and protest music is still being heard. Mokwetsi said that being banned, in fact, could make artists more popular.
At a roadside bar north of Harare, people sing along to the songs of Viomak. The latest album makes much better listening that her previous work, and is better organized and more original. It is also a frank assessment of the crisis in Zimbabwe and rightly squares the blame on Mugabe’s doorstep, who she accuses of being locked in denial.
The Zimbabwean government has long been intolerant of criticism, but since winning just a narrow victory in the general election in 2000, President Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) party have clamped down harder and harder on free expression.
Many Zimbabweans want their musicians to take a stronger political stand against the growing repression. People like Mokwetsi believe other artists should speak out more strongly.
“There is an element of fear in people’s reluctance to do so, although musicians here are used to speaking in riddles, their words carrying hidden meanings that people understand but which aren’t explicitly critical,” he told The Zimbabwean. “Many of us believe musicians should be more direct in telling it like it is. . . . If our musicians sing about society, then surely there is no way they can avoid political matters. They should be social and political commentators too.” – Visit:

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *